I don't really buy the Pat Willis comparisons, but the guy is very good and likely will be a top 15ish pick. I read that he lost 15 or so pounds so that definitely helped him this year.
I was pretty pissed that he stayed in school as I thought if he came out, we'd have had a shot at him or Hightower this past draft.
But honestly, I never understood why the Patriots drafted him. Hightower is an ILB. A big ILB. New England already has good starting ILB's in Mayo and Spikes so I don't know where they were going with that...if they wanted another ILB that was really good against the pass, Hightower is just average there. It was a weird pick IMHO.
My mid-season mock up (V1), rounds 1 and 2.
*I don't account for trades, but I do indicate where I think a trade could happen.
*Unlike Emory Hunt and others, I do base my picks off of BPA versus need and I try to take into account a team's history when picking.
*Draft positions are based on current record and where I think is a probable place for the team to wind up at the end of the season.
* Picks are also based on where I have collegiate players graded out. Obviously, this will evolve as the season(s) go on as well.
* Obviously things will change, this is just for discussion purposes.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Matt Barkley, QB, USC (6’2” 230lbs). It is still kind of up in the air as to whether or not Blaine Gabbert will ever develop into a solid starting QB. Considering he was a holdover from the previous owner and coaching staff, I’m not so sure the Jags have a lot of loyalty towards him. Matt Barkley is arguably the top rated QB this year and has all of the qualities that a team can build a franchise around. If Jacksonville wants to put seats in their stadium, they have to find a way to win games and build a team capable of getting them back into the playoffs.
2. Kansas City Chiefs – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (6’3” 215lbs). Similar to RGIII in last year’s draft, Geno Smith brings a tremendous amount of skills to the table as a quarterback. He has an excellent arm, is decisive, and can make things happen with his feet once the play starts to break down. Kansas City needs a quarterback probably more than any other team in the NFL right now because they have a solid defense and a stellar running game.
3. Cleveland Browns – David Amerson, CB, NC State (6’3” 195lbs). I don’t really care what anyone says, Amerson is still one of the top 10 players in this draft. It is rare that a guy his size has the speed and ability to turn and run with any receiver. He plays zone well, but he is at his best in press coverage where he can use his 6’3” frame to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. He also brings a nice set of ball skills to the table, which Cleveland desperately needs. I think because Cleveland doesn’t pick again until later in the draft they will try to get the most bang for their buck and Amerson is someone who could step in and instantly upgrade their secondary.
4. Oakland Raiders – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (6’4” 330lbs). The Raiders need a lot, but I think this pick is really going to depend on whether or not they think that Carson Palmer can win there and whether or not they think they have something with Terrelle Pryor. That said, the Raiders’ defense has been pretty disappointing this year and they really could use an upgrade at DT. Lotulelei is a monster against the run and for a guy his size gets off the ball quickly and uses his leverage to push the pocket around. I don’t necessarily think he is a TOP need for the Raiders, but he is easily one of the top 5 players available in this draft and I’m sure Oakland will find a way to use him in their defensive front 7.
5. Carolina Panthers – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia (6’2” 240lbs). Jones is an absolutely incredible athlete. He rushes the passer well, he plays the run well, and he can drop into coverage. He can line up at end, inside linebacker, and outside linebacker. There is also reason to believe that he can function in both a 4-3 and a 3-4 alignment. Many folks are comparing him to Von Miller, who has exceeded many expectations as a 4-3 outside linebacker. The Panthers defense needs a major overhaul, so they might as well take one of the top defensive players available.
6. Buffalo Bills – Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (6’6” 315lbs). This is kind of a weak class for offensive tackles, but Joeckel is currently the top rated guy at the position. Buffalo really needs to consider picking up another QB, but none of that matters unless they can protect whoever that may be. Cordy Glenn did ok, but in reality he is probably better suited as a RT or guard, and Chris Hairston really should be a back up. Joeckel needs some fine-tuning, but the talent and upside is there.
7. Indianapolis Colts – Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU (6’4” 260lbs). The Colts exceeded a lot of people’s expectations defensively. Chuck Pagano took a lot of 4-3 components and turned them into a 3-4 and it has been decent, but the reality is that both Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are old, overpaid, and don’t fit well in a 3-4. Sam Montgomery is one of the highest rated 3-4 OLB prospects in this draft after Jarvis Jones and compares heavily to guys like Aldon Smith and Terrell Suggs in that he is just an all-around good defensive player. He sets the edge well, he plays the run well, he collapses the pocket, and he has a nice burst of speed that allows him to close on the QB or ball carrier.
8. Tennessee Titans – DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama (6’ 190lbs). The Titans have a lot of young components, so it is kind of hard to really guage where they may go, but cornerback kind of makes sense for them since they lost Cortland Finnegan to free agency and haven’t really found a solid answer for that loss since. Jason McCourty is a decent corner and Alteraun Verner isn’t bad, but they need a guy who can line up on the outside and push Verner down to the slot, which is where he belongs. Milliner has been a solid corner this season for Alabama and has done well against a lot of top tiered receivers in the SEC.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (6’4” 320lbs). Tampa Bay has been trying to figure out their defensive line for a few years now and they have spent a lot of decent draft picks on the position without much luck. Gerald McCoy is decent, but not the player they thought they were getting with such a high draft pick. Hankins is a standout pass rusher for the Buckeyes and just makes plays all over the field. Tampa could look at the offensive line, linebacker, or possibly even corner, but Hankins is higher rated than any of those guys would be right now and Tampa could certainly look to bolster their defensive front.
10. St. Louis Rams – Keenan Allen, WR, California (6’2” 210lbs). The Rams were looking at picking Justin Blackmon last year, so there is certainly an interest from them in drafting some young talent at receiver. Allen is arguably the top rated receiver in this draft class and could easily provide the Rams with a more consistent starting receiver. Allen is very underrated, so I could see his stock falling a little due to being on a team with poor QB play, but he runs nice routes and has deceptive speed.
11. New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU (6’5” 245lbs). This pick will ultimately depend on whether or not Rex Ryan is fired after this season. If he is fired, they may look at someone like Tyler Bray or Tyler Wilson to replace Mark Sanchez, who has been nothing short of disappointing. If Rex is kept around, I think he will try to get someone who can fit into his 3-4 defense. They thought that maybe Aaron Maybin would be that pass rushing catalyst, but he only seemed to be interested in getting a contract extension. He hasn’t been very good this year. Mingo is a long and lean speed pass rusher with an outstanding burst off of the line. He can really get around offensive tackles quickly and close on QB’s.
12. Cincinnati Bengals – Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State (6’4” 260lbs). Werner has been an absolute terror for offensive lines this season. Last year many felt that he may move up into the bottom of the 2nd round, but with his play this year he has easily played himself into the first round and in my opinion he could easily be worth a top 15 pick. He is strong against the run, he uses leverage well and he has excellent footwork. He has one of the best rip moves I have seen in a defensive end in a long time. The Bengals have some talent at defensive end, but it is inconsistent and I could definitely see them looking at DL prospects this off-season.
13. St. Louis Rams (From Washington) – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6’5” 305lbs). The Rams traded Jason Smith to the Jets for Wayne Hunter, who has never been more than a depth swing tackle. The Rams definitely need to upgrade their offensive line if they want to get their offense going. Steven Jackson can still get it done, but he needs lanes to run through and right now they just aren’t doing it. Not only does Jake Matthews have a great bloodline, but he is also extremely athletic and has a nasty streak that you really like seeing in offensive lineman. He has predominately played RT in college, but many think that he is athletic enough to transition over to LT much like Tyron Smith did in Dallas.
14. New Orleans Saints – Barrett Jones, OT/G/C, Alabama (6’5” 310lbs). New Orleans has had a really rough year and their bread and butter offense noticeably missed Carl Nicks on the offensive line. They signed Ben Grubbs, who has been ok for them, but they really need help at offensive tackle and center. I think the Saints could also look at a defensive tackle here, but Barrett Jones just has move value in the top 20 and his flexibility has to be something that Sean Payton would really value.
15. Arizona Cardinals – Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas (6’3” 225lbs). John Skelton has glimpses of being a decent player and Kevin Kolb has shown glimpses, but neither have really taken the reigns and been that starting caliber QB that the Cardinals haven’t had since Kurt Warner. The Cards definitely need to address their offensive line, but I think those issues have largely been in part to injuries, so taking Wilson here isn’t a bad idea. He has a solid arm with good accuracy and he is a lot more athletic than most think. He has had some durability issues, but when healthy he is a good player with nice upside.
16. Philadelphia Eagles – Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State (6’1” 192lbs). Banks has been one of the most impressive defensive players in the country and is without a doubt worthy of a top 20 pick. He plays press coverage extremely well and has the natural talent to be the best cornerback taken in this draft. The Eagles landed a gem with Brandon Boykins, but they have some major decisions to make regarding Nnamdi and DRC. Both are expensive, Nnamdi has been a disappointment, and DRC is a free agent. If Andy Reid is still the coach, then I think they’ll let DRC hit free agency and draft a guy to replace him.
17. Dallas Cowboys – Manti T’eo, ILB, Notre Dame (6’2” 250lbs). Dallas already has a good defense, but getting a guy like T’eo could turn them into a great defense. T’eo has a ton of experience in a 3-4 alignment and would be an ideal fit for Rob Ryan’s defense. He has really improved his ability to cover receivers and tight ends and he is a force against the run. Dallas could also be looking for a guy like Jon Jenkins, but T’eo is way too good to pass up on right here.
18. San Diego Chargers – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee (6’4” 205lbs). The Chargers need a lot on both sides of the ball. Frankly, I think their biggest issue revolves around Norv Turner. The guy is a hell of an offensive coordinator, but he has never done well as a head coach. They invested money into Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem and neither of those guys has panned out at all. Malcom Floyd is an above average possession guy with a lot of height, but he has some major durability issues. They really need to get someone for Phillip Rivers to throw to. Justin Hunter has outstanding speed and leaping ability to go along with an impressively long frame. He can get vertical and he is a big target in the red zone. He needs some refinement as a route runner, but he could impact San Diego’s offense immediately.
19. Miami Dolphins – Tyler Eiffert, TE, Notre Dame (6’6” 255lbs). Ryan Tannehill has improved almost every week and many thought it would be a couple of years before he could really compete at the NFL level. Playing in a familiar offense has really helped him out a lot; so getting him some better targets should be a top priority for Miami this off-season. Eiffert is a natural receiver with deceptive speed and his frame makes him a mismatch for almost any defender on the field. His game is very similar to Rob Gronkowski’s.
20. Detroit Lions – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State (6’2” 210lbs). Detroit’s secondary may be one of the worst in the NFL. Outside of Louis Delmas, who can’t stay healthy, they all stink. Teams have been picking on their cornerbacks all season long. I think Detroit is going to try and look at receivers and offensive lineman as well, but I don’t see how they can pass on a cornerback like Rhodes here. He is a little stiff in the hips, but he has nice speed to go along with a 6’2” frame. I think he’d be an ideal player in Detroit’s system and could benefit from playing behind a defensive front 4 that can get to the QB as well as they can.
21. Seattle Seahawks – Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech (6’3” 209lbs). Pete Carroll has never been one to shy away from guys with a questionable history. He has also never been one to sit on a player who might not carry as much value as the pick would suggest (see Bruce Irvin), but you can’t fault the guy because he identifies whom he wants and takes them. Rogers was the Tennessee Vol’s #1 receiver before being kicked out of their program. He probably would have been a top 15 pick easily before that happened, but if he can keep his nose clean off the field then there is no reason why he can’t produce at the NFL level. He is that good of a player. The Seahawks desperately need a receiver because Sidney Rice is always hurt and Doug Baldwin is someone who should be playing out of the slot.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers – Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon (6’6” 244lbs). Pittsburgh could go a couple of different ways here, but there is no doubting that they need to get some young talent in their front 7 because James Harrison is old and due a lot of money, Jason Worilds has been disappointing, and apparently LaMarr Woodley doesn’t want to work out during the off-season. Jordan gets off the line very well and even though he is 6’6” he can really get low when turning a corner. Not many have him as 1st round talent right now, but I think the combination of his pass rushing skills and his ability to drop back into coverage – which is very impressive – will ultimately push him into round 1.
23. Minnesota Vikings – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson (6’1” 205lbs). The Vikings may be the most surprising team this year, but as the season went on it was pretty apparent that they still really needed better players at receiver. Percy Harvin is their best receiver, but he can’t do it all and he seems to operate better out of the slot. They signed Jerome Simpson, who hasn’t even been able to get onto the field, and Michael Jenkins isn’t very good. Hopkins has been destroying ACC secondary’s this season for Clemson with outstanding speed and route running ability. He is a big play threat every time he gets the ball in his hands.
24. New England Patriots – Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (6’3” 320lbs). The Brian Waters situation was kind of strange and no one really knows what happened. Logan Mankins has been banged up and for once in Tom Brady’s career the Patriots’ offensive line has been kind of a weak spot. Chance Warmack is this year’s top rated guard and is an outstanding run blocker. He plays with incredible strength and good technique. Currently he is an ok pass blocker, but he does anchor well and there is certainly reason to think that he could evolve into a very good interior offensive lineman quickly.
25. Chicago Bears – Dallas Thomas, OG, Tennsee (6’5” 312lbs). The Bears are in an interesting spot. They have two guys playing in the last year of their contracts (Jay Cutler and Henry Melton) and neither are going to be very cheap to keep around. In fact, there are some who think that the Bears may let Cutler hit free agency, re-sign Jason Campbell, and draft a guy to compete with Jason Campbell for next year. If that happens, then I think this pick would be Tyler Bray out of Tennessee. As it stands, I think that Mike Tice will encourage the Bears to continue to try and strengthen their offensive line because they still allow Jay Cutler to get hit way too much. Dallas Thomas is a superb player and is really underrated. He excels as a run blocker and can hold his own in pass protection. His best position is probably guard in the NFL, but he can slide out and play left tackle if the Bears decide JaMarcus Webb is a lost cause.
26. Denver Broncos – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (6’7” 309lbs). Ryan Clady is a free agent and I doubt the Broncos are going to be able to afford him. Secondly, from everything I’ve read I am not so sure that Clady even wants to be there anymore. There is the possibility that the Broncos put the franchise tag on him, but that could be pretty expensive as well, so I’m not sure if John2 will want to do that or not. Lewan has been really impressive this year and has really improved as a pass blocker. He is in the mold of guys like Jake Long and Ryan Kalil, who were top 5 picks in their respective drafts, so there is reason to think that Lewan’s upside could be desirable for teams needing a left tackle.
27. Baltimore Ravens – CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama (6’2” 238lbs). Mosley has been an outstanding linebacker for Alabama and can play inside or out. He is an excellent run defender, has some pass rushing ability, and plays well in space. Baltimore needs to really evaluate their inside linebackers because they don’t have anyone who can cover the middle of the field on passing downs and they have been a sieve when stopping the run. Ray Lewis is a legend, but he just doesn’t have the ability to be an every down player anymore and neither Dannell Ellerbe or Jameel McClain play well in space.
28. Atlanta Falcons – Kawann Short, DT, Purdue (6’3” 310lbs). Short has been a standout player in the Big10 this year. He provides a nice burst up the middle and even when double-teamed he still finds a way into the backfield to put pressure on the QB. He is probably best suited as a 4-3 under tackle and reminds me of a Geno Atkins type of defensive lineman. Atlanta hasn’t been too thrilled with their defensive lineman for a few years now and Peria Jerry seems more and more like a bust.
29. Green Bay Packers – Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma (5’11” 211lbs). The Packers secondary has been pretty bad for them this year. They give up far too much over the top and their entire defense outside of Clay Matthews has issues tackling the ball carrier. Jefferson is like a heat-seeking missile when tracking the ball carrier. He’s a big hitter who plays well deep and is at his best up around the line of scrimmage.
30. San Francisco 49ers – Jon Jenkins, DT, Georgia (6’3” 350lbs). The 49ers have very little need on either side of the ball, but Jenkins is someone that could be a huge boost to an already potent defense. For a guy his size, he rushes the passer extremely well and he does a nice job standing offensive lineman up at the line of scrimmage and taking on double teams, which means Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman don’t get picked up as much by opposing guards. Jenkins is a boom or bust kind of player, but there is no denying he has outstanding athleticism for his size.
31. Houston Texans – TJ McDonald, S, USC (6’2” 208lbs). Houston is another team that really doesn’t need a whole lot. I think they may look at receiver, but in the bottom of round 1 they may want to try and take a guy to replace Glover Quinn, who will be a free agent. McDonald is a rangy safety with nice ball skills. His stock has dropped a little, but he is still a legit player and can function as a strong safety, but I think his best position may be as a free safety.
32. New York Giants – Khaseem Green, OLB, Rutgers (6’1” 230lbs). Green is a borderline 1st rounder right now, but his stock is going to stay strong because this guy is such a good player and leader on the field. He may be the best cover linebacker in this entire draft and he flies around the field. To me, this is a pretty typical Jerry Reese/Tom Coughlin pick. The Giants don’t really need a whole lot, but they’ve had some weak spots at linebacker for a few years now and getting a solid 4-3 outside linebacker who can stay out on the field for the entire game has to be something the Giants would be interested in.
33. Jacksonville Jaguars – John Cooper, OG, North Carolina (6’3” 315lbs). Cooper is without a doubt the 2nd rated guard in this draft and some feel that he could push himself up into round 1. If he is here, the Jags really need to consider it because their offensive line has been about as mediocre as they come.
34. Kansas City Chiefs – Robert Woods, WR, USC (6’ 190lbs). Dwayne Bowe has been trying to leave Kansas City for the last couple of years. The Chiefs can’t tag him and unless they offer him the moon, I don’t see him stick around there. Kansas City needs to give their young QB some weapons to work with. Woods is a pristine route runner with solid speed. If he were 6’2” 210lbs he’d probably be a top 20 pick.
35. Cincinnati Bengals – Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (6’ 220lbs). Lattimore probably would have been a top 20 selection before he mangled his leg up this past week, but now I think he’ll drop a fair amount. There is a chance that he could not ever play again, but if he can then I think a team might take a chance on him in the 2nd or 3rd rounds, let him heal up for a year, and then see where he is at the next season. The kid has talent and is without a doubt the top runningback in the country.
36. Carolina Panthers – Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida (6’3” 300lbs). Floyd has been an excellent defensive tackle this year. He penetrates into the backfield and pushes the pocket around nicely. He’s quick for his size and can work his way down the line and make perimeter tackles. Carolina has to get better in the middle of their defensive line. It has been a few years now since they’ve had solid production from their DT’s and it could get Ron Rivera fired after this season.
37. Miami Dolphins – Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers (6’ 195lbs). Miami has been another nice surprise this year, but they still could use some upgrades in their secondary because neither Sean Smith or Nolan Carroll are doing anything to make the Dolphins think that they have good depth at corner. Ryan has been a very impressive player at Rutgers this year and has nice ability in man coverage.
38. Buffalo Bills – Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (6’6” 220lbs). Bray is a lanky QB with an above average arm and solid accuracy. He has some durability concerns and he hasn’t been as consistent as you’d like, which is why I think he’ll drop a bit. Buffalo needs to bring in someone who can legitimately compete with Ryan Fitzpatrick, because he just isn’t getting it done.
39. Tennessee Titans – Alex Okafor, DE, Texas (6’4” 265lbs). The Titans probably are close to giving up on Derrick Morgan ever being a factor for them and even though Kameiron Wimbley is a good player, he can’t do it by himself and the Titans have very little depth at DE right now. Okafor is a solid all-around DE. If he can show at the combine that he can drop into coverage then I think he could go higher than this to a 3-4 team, but off the edge he is pretty good.
40. Tampa Buccaneers – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas (6’ 215lbs). Right now the Bucs have a 63 year old Rhonde Barber playing safety. Barber can still play at a decently high level, but they really do need to think about getting a younger guy in there to be his replacement. Vaccaro has been a great player for the Longhorns this year and has made plays all over the field. He would be a great compliment to Mark Barron.
41. New York Jets – Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin (6’6” 325lbs). Wagner is a traditional Wisconsin lineman. He is a mauler in the ground game and provides nice protection as a pass blocker. The Jets got rid of Wayne Hunter, but didn’t really upgrade too much with Austin Howard at RT. Whoever their QB is needs time to read the field and make the right throw.
42. Cincinnati Bengals – Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia (6’3” 236lbs). Ogletree is a very athletic linebacker who could function well in a 4-3 and a 3-4. He also has the coverage skills to stay on the field in nickel and dime packages. Rey Maualuga is entering a contract year and the Bengals have had a tough time with outside linebackers as Manny Lawson isn’t very good and Thomas Howard is hurt.
43. St. Louis Rams – Mario Benavides, C, Louisville (6’4” 300lbs). Scott Wells has been ok for the Rams, but they’ve had issues generating any kind of push for their running backs to work with. Benavides is very underrated and has performed well against any defense Louisville has faced.
44. Philadelphia Eagles – Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M (6’4” 255lbs). It wouldn’t be a Philadelphia draft if a lineman wasn’t taken within the first two rounds. Trent Cole is still Trent Cole, but Jason Babin hasn’t been nearly what they thought considering how well he played last year. Still, the Eagles love having a plethora of rotational defensive lineman and Moore is a heck of a pass rusher. He could push his stock up into round 1.
45. Arizona Cardinals – Brennan Williams, OT, North Carolina (6’6” 315lbs). Williams has been a name that many feel is playing into a borderline 1st round status. He has ideal size for the left tackle position and has nice athleticism. The upside is certainly there, but I think he’ll stay around the mid to late 2nd round.
46. Washington Redskins – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington (6’ 188lbs). The Redskins’ secondary is pretty bad. Josh Wilson is decent, but DeAngelo Hall is really overrated and gives up way too many big plays because he likes to gamble. Trufant doesn’t have a lot of stats this year because no QB wants to throw his direction, which means he’s pretty darn good as a cover corner.
47. Dallas Cowboys – Cyril Richardson, OG/T, Baylor (6’5” 335lbs). Richardson has experience at offensive tackle, but has predominately been at guard this season for Baylor and has excelled there. Dallas really needs to bolster their offensive line; especially at guard.
48. San Diego Chargers – Travis Howard, CB, Ohio State (6’1” 199lbs). San Diego’s pass defense is bad. Quinton Jammer is a shadow of his former self and Antione Cason bites on almost every double move that gets thrown on him. They really need another cornerback capable of playing the outside and considering they play the Broncos twice a year who have two big receivers, they should really think about getting a bigger cornerback who can actually press and cover.
49. Miami Dolphins – Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor (6’3” 205lbs). Miami continues to get better weapons for Ryan Tannehill. Williams is excellent in the middle of the field and really works the route tree. He won’t burn many corners down the field, but his size allows him to be effective as a vertical threat.
50. Detroit Lions – Dalton Freeman, C, Clemson (6’5” 290lbs). Freeman may be a bit on the small side, but he plays with great technique and some of the best centers in the league right now (Chris Myers) are less than 300lbs. Dominic Raiola is a good player, but he’s getting up there in age and has slowly been on the decline.
51. Seattle Seahawks – Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas (6’5” 245lbs). Pete Carroll will probably continue to amass pass rushers. Bruce Irvin has made some decent plays this year, but Chris Clemons is still getting up there in age and really isn’t very good against the run. Jeffcoat does really well breaking into the backfield, but he takes advantage of facing single blocking because a lot of defenses are focused on Okafor.
52. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee (6’3” 200lbs). It is highly unlikely that Pittsburgh will be able to afford Mike Wallace. As it stands it is unlikely that they will even be able to afford to use the franchise tag on him. Pittsburgh is going to have to do some homework and draft a receiver and hope he can develop into someone who could start in his first year. Patterson has outstanding speed for his size, but is still pretty raw.
53. Minnesota Vikings – Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State (6’2” 235lbs). Hodges has been playing really well this season. He plays the run extremely well and he has a ton of athleticism, which allows him to play in space well. He has a ton of upside and reminds me of a Darryl Washington type of linebacker. The Vikings defense has gotten a lot better, but Hodges would be a major upgrade over Jasper Brinkley.
54. New England Patriots – Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virgina (5’10” 190lbs). Bailey has been a major reason for West Virginia’s prolific offense. He is an outstanding route runner, consistently finds the soft zones, and makes plays with the ball in his hands. He can return punts and kicks and has deceptive speed. I think the Patriots are ok going with QB by committee, but they aren’t real crazy about Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd has been so-so, and who knows if they will re-sign Wes Welker.
55. Chicago Bears – Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame (6’4” 322lbs). The Bears may not be able to afford to keep Henry Melton because they may be writing a big paycheck for Jay Cutler. I think the Bears could be in the market for another interior defensive lineman and at this point Nix is the best of the bunch. He does a great job shedding blockers and making plays in the backfield.
56. Denver Broncos – Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State (6’ 205lbs). Randle is an elusive back with nice top end speed. It is arguable that he isn’t the best available back at this point, but I think his upside and big play ability will make him a pretty intriguing prospect for a team like Denver who could use a guy behind McGahee, who will be 32 next year.
57. Baltimore Ravens – Alvin Bailey, OG/T, Arkansas (6’5” 324lbs). Bailey is kind of a jack-of-all-trades offensive lineman. He’s solid in pass protection and he is a good run blocker. He can play tackle or guard. The Ravens have some real issues on the offensive line. They need to decide what they want to do with Oher and KO and the left guard position, but with getting a guy like Bailey they will have some options.
58. Atlanta Falcons – Omoregie Uzzi, OG, Georgia Tech (6’3” 305lbs). Uzzi is a nasty run blocker, but is pretty raw as a pass blocker. He has a lot of upside. Atlanta has kind of been iffy regarding their running game this year and even though many feel Michael Turner is slowing down, they could still use an upgrade on the OL. Peter Konz will likely move over to center when Todd McClure retires leaving a hole at LG and Garrett Reynolds is a free agent and not very good.
59. Green Bay Packers – Shane Skov, ILB, Stanford (6’3” 251lbs). Skov has come off of a knee injury nicely and has been a solid defensive player for Stanford this season. AJ Hawk is ok, but expensive, and Desmond Bishop is coming off of some injuries as well. Green Bay could stand to upgrade the linebacker position.
60. San Francisco 49ers – Eric Reid, S, LSU (6’2” 212lbs). The Niners don’t seem interested in paying Dashon Golson a ton of money, so there is reason to think that he’ll be hitting free agency. Eric Reid is an opportunistic safety that thrives in an aggressive defense. He would be a good fit in San Francisco’s defense.
61. Houston Texans – Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas (6’3” 210lbs). The Texans let Jacoby Jones hit free agency and used draft picks on Kenyon Martin and DeVier Posey last year, but neither has been very impressive at all. Considering Andre Johnson’s age and Kevin Walter’s lack of speed they may be interested in looking at another receiver who has the upside to develop into a #1 or #2 receiver.
62. New York Giants – David Yankey, OT, Stanford (6’5” 307lbs). William Beatty has talent, but the guy is always hurt. The Giants have been playing with a makeshift offensive line for a few years now, but how long before that catches up to them? Yankey is pretty underrated and has played well when the pressure was on. He is a bit raw, but has some upside as an offensive tackle.
Not a fan of Arthur Brown? I've read some good things about him.
I doubt we come out of round 2 without a nose tackle or a 5 technique. Sheldon Richardson is a guy I am interested in.
Good player, just not sure if he'd be a good fit in Baltimore's D.
I contemplated Louis Nix or Jon Jenkins in round 1, but I think CJ Mosley is the better player there and frankly I think ILB is WAY more of a hole than DT. Plus, IMO, after T'eo, Mosley, and Ogletree there is a pretty significant drop off in talent of guys who would fit the bill of a 3-4 ILB.
And I disagree somewhat that ILB is a bigger need than DT. As Arnie_UK has said before on these boards, you put any LB there, and they are going to be ineffective with the Dline we have. When we had Cory Redding for example, it's funny how Jameel McClain looked a lot better than he has this year. I think ILB is one of the biggest needs on this team, but for me, NT or 5 technique is the number 1 need this offseason, followed closely by OT, we need to improve the trenches. History shows that you can get a good ILB in a later round, or sign a good player in FA for a reasonable price. DT/NT/OT's are much harder to draft or find.
I a a big fan of Jon Jenkins, Louis Nix, Sheldon Richardson, and even Jesse Williams. It's a favorable draft for DT's this year for sure. As good as CJ Mosely is, I'm not sure there are any ILB's I'd take in the first round other than Manti Teo, and I felt the same way this year when Hightower was on the radar. Are ILB's really worth it no matter how good they are when you can get a really good one in the second or third rounds? These are questions that I always consider when I personally project where an ILB may end up going. Lets take a look at Bobby Wagner who went in the second round for example, he's right now perhaps the favorite to win defensive rookie of the year, and has played much better than either Luke Kuechy (who went 8 overall) and Donta Hightower who went 25th overall.